Constipation is chronic and episodic (situational). Episodic constipation occurs mainly in people prone to constipation under certain conditions. Episodic constipation often occurs in tourists, pregnant women, and people taking certain medications. Constipation can also occur as a result of the use of certain foods, mental overload, depression and other emotional factors. Such constipation is not considered a disease.

Constipation should be considered a delay in bowel movements for more than 48 hours. At the same time, little feces are released, but with increased dryness and hardness. Also, a person suffering from constipation may not experience the feeling of a complete bowel movement.

These signs can appear both in combination and separately. But even a change in the habitual rhythm and frequency of a person’s bowel movements indicates constipation.

Constipation can be an independent disease, but more often it is one of the symptoms of any pathologies: gastritis, spastic or atonic colitis, cholecystitis, etc.

The most significant elements of the pathogenesis of constipation are delays in the movement of the contents of the colon, organic or functional narrowing of the lumen of the colon, weakness of the muscles of the walls of the intestine itself and powerful resistance of the spasmodic anal sphincter, compacted fecal lumps. 

If incomplete emptying of the rectum is repeated frequently, perineal prolapse syndrome may occur.

constipation symptoms

Symptoms can be different and depend mainly on the nature of the disease that caused it. The frequency of bowel movements for constipation varies from once every 3 days to once a week, or even less often. Feces can be ribbon-like, cord-like or bean-shaped, also in the form of dry compacted balls.

There are also cases of constipation diarrhea, which appears due to delayed bowel movements and liquefaction of feces with mucus formed as a reaction to irritation of the intestinal wall.

Constipation can cause a feeling of fullness or bloating in the abdomen. At the same time, flatulence (bloating) is quite strong and is caused by the slow movement of feces and increased gas formation. Bloating is not often accompanied by pain in the heart, heart palpitations as a result of a reflex reaction.

With prolonged constipation, appetite decreases and belching and an unpleasant taste in the mouth appear. Patients have a decrease in work probability, the appearance of headaches and pain in the muscles of the body, nervousness, insomnia and a constant bad mood.

In case of severe constipation, the skin may become flabby, pale, with a yellowish tint.

With inflammation of the small intestine (enteritis), constipation occurs in every fifth patient, and with inflammation of the large intestine (chronic colitis) – in every second.

Complications of constipation

Prolonged constipation can cause various complications: proctosigmoiditis (inflammation of the sigmoid and rectum), secondary colitis. Prolonged stagnation of the contents in the caecum can cause its reverse pushing into the small intestine, the development of reflux enteritis is not excluded. Constipation can be complicated by biliary tract disease or hepatitis.

In conditions of severe constipation, all kinds of diseases of the rectum are found: hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, paraproctitis (inflammation within the rectal tissue).

Constipation can cause the colon to expand and lengthen, making constipation more frequent and more persistent.

The most severe complication in the body due to constipation is colon and rectal cancer.

To reduce the risk of constipation and colon cancer, you will need to eat foods rich in dietary fiber. This reduces the likelihood of concentrations of carcinogens that contribute to the development of cancer. Symptoms of the formation of a tumor in the colon may be a deterioration in health, the recent appearance of constipation in people over 50 years of age who did not previously suffer from constipation, weight loss, blood in the stool.

The prevalence of constipation and their significance

The high prevalence of constipation has become one of the social problems of the modern world. This is one of the so-called frequent health disorders that most often appear in the elderly and in young children.

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